I have been hesitant to wade into this, since most of the key points
have already been made (and I have had remarkably little trouble with
AOL members on any of my lists), but there are some things that
I'd like to suggest for AOL (David, I'm sure you're listening :_0))
and other providers that maintain an in-house list database.
First, I don't really have an opinion of "default included" vs.
"default omitted" for lists. "Default omitted" (only list a list if
the list manager OK's it) is probably more desirable, *but*,
realistically, considering how many Internet resource-list books there
are out there, it's not like those lists won't be known to members,
who will create an admin burden in asking about them. So we are left
with "default included."
In this case, I think it is absolutely mandatory that the provider
communicate with the list manager on a regular basis (twice a year?)
with at least the following information (paraphrased):
1. Hello, this is [NAME/ADDR] at [SERVICE] and we maintain
a database of Internet mailing lists for our members.
[Comment: list managers change; it's best to reintroduce yourself
and state the purpose each time.]
2. Would you like us to retain the listing for your list [LISTNAME]?
3. We have the following information for [LISTNAME]. Please correct it
if necessary: [INFO].
4. You can get a copy of the list database (and/or your specific
entries) on the Internet by doing the following: (WWW, gopher, FTP,
e-mail server, etc.) [Comment: No, I -- speaking personally here --
don't want an account on your service to get access to this
information; I want it via the Internet, where *I* work and spend my
5. If you have problems with [SERVICE] members, or need to contact us
regarding your list entry, send e-mail to [NAME/ADDR] or call [PHONE].
[Comment: A *real* person or office; not "Customer Service" or "TOS
Advisor" or that sort of thing.]
Unfortunately, even though I maintain 5 relatively high-profile lists
(one of which, ironically, is list-managers) and one smaller (but
public) list, nobody from AOL has ever communicated with me in the
way suggested above. I have no idea which of my lists, if any, are
in AOL's database, or what information is about them there. Someone (not an
AOL.COM address) once (a year ago?) sent me a really lame questionnaire
about lists, claiming to be compiling it for an online service, but did
not identify themselves as being associated with AOL until I asked, and
then they were very terse and did not share any information, and I am
still not sure if they were genuine or not.
Michael C. Berch
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
From: email@example.com (Wes Morgan)